The world of professional wrestling is not a forgiving one. One mistake or slip up or injury and that can means your career is over. That doesn’t just relate to medically career ending injuries either, as WWE and Vince McMahon aren’t too taken with injury prone Superstars. In fact, sometimes just the one injury can derail your career. Take a look at Finn Balor as a current example. Last year, the Irishman became the first ever Universal Champion and was very much on top of the world. Fast forward to now after his injury and WWE don’t seem to have faith in him anymore.
On to the matter at hand though and what even the best of wrestlers need to understand is that in the blink of an eye, WWE can decide that they no longer need you anymore. That they have squeezed every drop of life and talent out of you that they believe they possibly can and they have no use for you any more. That happens more times than both fans and wrestlers care to realize. At the end of the day, Vince McMahon is running a business and if he thinks a Superstar has run their course, then he will send them on their way. Here are 15 examples of the chairman doing exactly that with his employees.
15. Ted DiBiase Jr.
WWE love nothing more than getting their hands on the son or daughter of someone who has made them an awful lot of money in the past. The Likes of The Rock, Charlotte Flair, and Randy Orton have demonstrated how well that can go for a Superstar and their career. However, there are just as many, if not more, examples of times that it didn’t work out. Rest assured that WWE will make the most that they possibly can out of your family name before they ship you off. Ted DiBiase Jr. is a great example of that. The third generation wrestler was used as a part of the faction Legacy alongside other famous wrestling offspring Cody Rhodes and the aforementioned Orton. Once that had run its course, WWE didn’t have much for Ted and, after a slow descent down the card, he and the company parted ways. Ted no longer wrestles and is actually the Vice President of Business Development for One Life America,
14. Cody Rhodes
While we’re on the subject of famous wrestling offspring, let’s move on to DiBiase’s Legacy tag team partner Cody Rhodes. WWE obviously managed to get a lot more out of Cody than they did Ted before spitting him out. Following his spell in Legacy, WWE gave him terrible gimmick after terrible gimmick, finally landing on Stardust. The character played up the fact that Cody was Goldust’s real life brother and was one direction he had told people backstage that he didn’t want his career to go. It did though and, after a somewhat interesting angle involving Rhodes and his brother, the gimmick became stale. Cody eventually left WWE and is now thriving on the independent circuit, winning a handful of Championships and reviving his brand.
13. Matt Morgan
To this day, fans would probably take one look at Matt Morgan and think that he is the ultimate Vince McMahon guy. He’s a monster of a man who is not only ripped but stands at seven foot tall, so how did WWE not make more of him when they had this behemoth under contract? His beginnings on the main roster were extremely promising. Morgan effectively acted as one of Brock Lesnar’s right hand guys, teaming with him and aiding him in winning matches. Breathing the same air as The Beast Incarnate in WWE is an opportunity ill afforded to many. Then Lesnar left WWE in 2004 and Morgan was left treading water. Clearly the company hadn’t reached the point they wanted to with him by that point and eventually he left the company too, moving on to TNA where he also struggled. Matt actually returned to Impact for a brief period this year and has also dabbled in politics, running for public office in Longwood, Florida.
Kharma’s arrival in WWE was poorly timed for a number of reasons. The main one is that she was there before WWE women were judged on their in ring ability as opposed to whether they looked good. If she was around today, then she would undoubtedly occupy a top spot in the women’s division. Unfortunately, when Kharma did come to WWE, it seemed that they didn’t really know what to do with her and didn’t have much legitimate competition for her. That’s one of the reasons why the only match she actually ever had for WWE was an appearance during a Royal Rumble. In TNA, Kharma was known as Awesome Kong and she actually has a decent run there.. She no longer wrestles but recently appeared in the Netflix series GLOW, which is based on the women’s wrestling promotion of the same name.
This one might seem a little odd to some fans as Sting was forced to retire before his WWE run had necessarily come to an end. Vince McMahon made sure to squeeze everything he could out of the iconic former WCW star before that day arrived though. Not only that, but after literally decades of fans imagining what it would be like to see Sting at WrestleMania, when that day finally came, they had him lose to Triple H. Perhaps if The Icon had won that match then a much more favorable run, in the eyes of the fans at least, could have taken place. WWE used Sting to pop the crowd at the end of a Survivor Series pay per view and also to give Triple H a win on The Grandest Stage of Them All, probably already knowing that The Game would be losing the following year. Nowadays, WWE still bring Sting out for Network shows and special appearances.
10. Tyrus / Brodus Clay
WWE is very much the land of the giants. Even in 2017, you can tell that Vince McMahon prefers bigger guys heading up his roster (just take a look at Braun Strowman). That’s why it’s so surprising that they did so little with Brodus Clay. He’s a 400 pound monster who could have been sold as such with relative ease, but instead they covered the behemoth up and gave him a dancing gimmick, labeling him The Funkasaurus. CM Punk, a man who loved pointing out WWE’s flaws while under their employ, even pointed this out on Raw one week. Once WWE started signing all of the world’s more legitimate wrestlers to NXT, Clay’s character didn’t really have a place on the roster. Rather then repackaging him as the threat he always should have been, he was released. Thankfully Impact Wrestling have realized Clay’s potential where he now wrestles as Tyrus.
9. Buff Bagwell
In most of the cases featured on this list, WWE took their time in chewing up the stars and spitting them out once they were done. Buff Bagwell is the exception to that as it took them about a week to be done with the former WCW star. Bagwell was one of the first stars to move across from the defunct promotion to WWE after the acquisition. He and fellow WCW alum Booker T wrestled two matches, one of which took place on Monday Night Raw, in an apparent trial that may have led to WWE relaunching Nitro under their own roof. Sadly, the matches were terrible. Bagwell followed that upl by apparently faking an injury and then having his mom phone in sick for him. A week later he was released from his contract. Bagwell still wrestles on the indies and is also involved in the class action lawsuit against WWE. He’s also featured as a gigolo, making him one of the more interesting entries on this list.
8. James Ellsworth
James Ellsworth’s WWE story is one that is pretty out of the ordinary. Initially WWE’s plan was to chew up and spit out Ellsworth in the space of one night. James was brought in as an enhancement talent to face Braun Strowman at the beginning of The Monster Among Men’s run. The thing is the fans inexplicably took to him and Vince McMahon saw an opportunity to cash in on Ellsworth for a little longer. James signed to SmackDown Live and once his run with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose was done, there wasn’t much else for him to do. He was paired with Carmella for a while before being released. That was a very recent thing, so Ellsworth is currently still running down his 90 day non-compete clause. After that, he will likely return to the indies.
7. Austin Aries
Austin Aries has been wrestling for almost 20 years. He is a seasoned veteran by anyone’s standards which is why it was seen as such a coup when he signed for WWE. The year and a half he spent there was something of a whirlwind visit and probably passed Aries by quicker than he or WWE would have liked. His run in NXT was cut short thanks to a gnarly looking eye socket injury, so instead WWE used him to bolster their Cruiserweight division. Firstly A-Double was an announcer for 205 Live before eventually becoming a competitor once he had recovered from his injury. Austin was shot straight to the top and WWE gave fans him versus Neville until everyone, including the two of them, were probably sick of it. The former TNA Champion left after that and is currently back competing on the independent circuit, while promoting his new book, Food Fight.
6. Scott Steiner
When WWE bought out WCW at the start of 2001, fans naturally expected their biggest stars to move over and spark some incredible, never before seen rivalries. That did happen, but unfortunately not right off the bat. Thanks to guaranteed contracts, some of WCW’s biggest stars opted to stay at home and wait them out. That meant they came to WWE slowly and, in 2002, Scott Steiner arrived on the scene. Being the big name that he was, he almost instantly got inserted into a World Championship angle with Triple H. It did not go well. Following that, WWE dropped Steiner into continually lesser angles before his release in 2004. Sine then, he can be found on the indies and at wrestling conventions, where he’ll gladly discuss his disdain for Triple H. Scott actually wrestled for Impact Wrestling recently, although after Slammiversary he left the company.
5. Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre was once one of Vince McMahon’s many pet projects. No matter what else is going on in WWE, the chairman always seems to be on the look out for a Superstar who can be his next Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin. It has been a thing as far back as the likes of The Ultimate Warrior and Lex Luger. We’re currently seeing it happen with Roman Reigns, but before that it was the McIntyre who Vince wanted as the face of his company. McIntyre was far too young and inexperienced at the time and once WWE had got everything they could from him, they sent him on his way. Thankfully a much more mature and experienced Drew has now returned to WWE and who knows, maybe he will someday be that face that Vince McMahon always longed for him to be.
4. Chris Hero / Kassius Ohno
The name Chris Hero might not ring any bells for a lot of fans. If you’ve only witnessed him in WWE, then you will know him as Kassius Ohno. Ohno is currently a part of NXT, so why is he on this list we hear you ask? Well his current stint under the WWE umbrella isn’t his first. Hero was an NXT Superstar back in 2012/2013 and the future looked bright for him. Not only is Chris a bigger guy that can wrestle like a cruiserweight, but if you believe CM Punk, then he was supposed to be the guy who occupied Roman Reigns’ spot in The Shield. That didn’t happen (of course) and Hero was eventually released despite his world class ability. Thankfully he has returned and hopefully WWE will realize what they have with him second time around.
A return to big guys in WWE now and onto the subject of The Big Guy. Similarly to Brodus Clay, you would have thought that Vince McMahon would have taken one look at Ryback and his eyes would have lit up. Well strangely, according to Ryback, for a long time Vince thought that he was overweight as opposed to muscular. Once McMahon knew the truth Ryback found himself competing in World Championship matches and as one of the company’s top guys. Clearly they never saw him as the top guy though and once that realization became apparent to Ryback, the relationship between him and the company became strained. At that point, WWE began the chewing up process until The Big Guy could take no more. Now Ryback works the independent circuit and has his own podcast, Conversations With The Big Guy.
2. The Great Khali
If there’s one thing that Vince McMahon loves just as much as bringing a big guy into his company, it’s a Superstar who can potentially help him introduce his product to a whole new market. The Great Khali fit both of those descriptions. Not only was the Indian giant over seven feet tall, but he could also help WWE crack his home country, thus introducing a country with over a billion inhabitants to what the company had to offer. Unfortunately Khali’s limited wrestling ability and lack of promo skill meant that making him a top guy felt extremely forced. Once that was realized, it of course didn’t stop WWE from getting everything they could out of him. They even brought him back for one night only a few months ago simply because their WWE Champion at the time was of Indian descent. Khali is still dedicated to making wrestling popular in India. He owns and runs his own wrestling school there called Continental Wrestling Entertainment.
WWE is currently the place to be when it comes to great women’s wrestling. That hasn’t always been the case though and, for the longest time, females in the company were merely there to look good and attract more male viewers. The woman who arguably started that trend was Sunny. The original WWE Diva was hired during the 1990s just as the Attitude Era was getting started. She inspired the likes of Sable, who came after her, and therein lies the biggest problem. Once those other ladies showed up and Sunny had grown older, they had no use for her any more. It’s sad but Sunny was quite literally replaced. Her life hasn’t exactly gone to plan since then and she has been in trouble with the law a number of times, the latest of which landed her in jail earlier this year.
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